Take a good look. What do you see?
At first, I wanted to be outraged. I wanted to be full of righteous indignation, full of sound and fury.
But then I paused and took a closer look. The picture before me slowly changed.
What I first perceived to be a callous political stunt was actually something much more benign, yet so incredibly beautiful.
A woman and her two teen daughters, enjoying what appears to be a spontaneous moment during a visit to the Great Wall of China.
A mother and her children, sharing a moment they will likely never forget.
The image of these three beautiful woman with one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders serving as an understated backdrop is . . . well, more than I can describe.
So, in less than two minutes, I was moved from outrage to a glowing sense of pride. That’s the First Family of the United States, our best ambassadors to represent the true character, warmth and spirit of my countrymen.
Damn, I thought, I am going to share this photo. It’s pretty awesome.
What went wrong?
As I went to hit the “share” button, I noticed some of the comments that had been posted on the White House Facebook page. I could not believe what I was reading.
So like driving past an accident, I slowed down and scrolled because — for some unknown reason — I just needed a little more hate in my day, a tad more vitriol. I was apparently thirsty for the ugly carnage of rage and fear.
Within 3o seconds, I thought I was going to vomit, literally.
I could not – - still cannot — believe what I was reading. One man referred to Michelle Obama and her two daughters as “apes.”
Another man urged the First Family to commit suicide by jumping off the wall.
It went downhill from there, but I cannot — 24 hours later — bring myself to retype the words, the pure, unadulterated hate that is as alive and well today as it ever was in our nation’s history.
I get that it’s hard for many Americans who are still struggling under the weight of a sluggish economy to see the First Family’s vacation photos. In an earlier post from 2012, I pointed out that President Bush rarely hesitated to use his vacation time.
It’s tough optics, but it is not exclusive to the Obama family.
And when friends talk about racism and the Obama Administration, I generally push back. I tell them they are exagerrating…”playing the race card.”
I used to think his supporters would see rampant racism around every corner, simply as a way to mask the president’s failures or his shortcomings.
So, maybe I needed to see what I saw last night.
I did not vote for President Obama, but I want to buy him a beer or two because I now know he is a far better man than me. Why?
Well, if I were the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most powerful military, and if someone described my wife and children as “apes,” . . . well, let your imagination run wild, but the world would probably have one less ignoramus surfing the internet.
Bottom line? It’s really ugly out there, but if you are patient . . . and open to it . . .there is a lot of beauty to behold.